Avoiding Business Growth Problems. How to Build a Large-Scale Application
Business software is as unique as the logo of the company. Therefore, each business organization that applies for the services of a software development company, has a unique set of requirements. Some businesses seek an eye-catching UI to attract a younger audience. Others sacrifice the visual side of the application in favor of performance to ensure lag-free business transactions for every client.
But in some scenarios, the major requirements for a software system lay beyond the experience of the individual end-user and follow the specifics of the organizational structure. For example, a properly designed software system can effortlessly adapt to the influx of a large number of new users without delivering any inconveniences. An average user of such an app won’t even notice any changes. Systems built with a focus on scalability are called large-scale applications and their development has some specific features. Today, we’ll share some tips that will help you to build such an app with minimum risks.
What Is a Large-Scale Application and Why You Might Need One
It’s hard to find a business owner who doesn’t want to maximize the company’s clientele. Unfortunately, a software system can’t magically boost its performance at a snap of the fingers. To avoid possible performance decreases, the application must be initially designed in a certain way. Scalability is a system’s feature that determines how well it can handle a rapid increase in the number of requests from users. Large-scale applications, in their turn, are built to satisfy the need of an organization to deal with high volumes of data.
Such applications’ superpowers work in different ways. First of all, for a specific user, there shouldn’t be a perceptible difference between hundreds and tens of thousands of concurrent user requests. In any of these cases, a large-scale application must demonstrate high performance and remain responsive.
As you grow your business and enter new markets, your software system faces the necessity to handle requests from users that live in different countries. In this scenario, if your application relies on on-premise servers located in one place, some issues may arise. Therefore, you must think about distributing servers in different geographic locations or using cloud servers.
Large-scale applications must not only process large amounts of data but be ready to work with different data formats. Say, the software development team must not only design the app in such a way that it can process orders better but also provide the possibility to analyze the behavior of a large number of potential customers to help you understand how you can optimize your marketing efforts.
Large-scale applications look like a good investment, but as you probably have guessed, their development requires a special approach. Extra efforts will require time and resources and not everybody can afford that. Therefore, the following question arises: do I really need to invest in the development of such an app?
If your application crashes under the influx of new customers, it can harm your market success. It takes years to build a solid reputation but ruining it is sometimes a matter of days and even hours. Suppose that one day your marketing campaign will finally achieve its goal and hordes of potential buyers will flood your servers. Imagine their disappointment when instead of a once-in-a-lifetime offer they’ll see the “Service Unavailable” message. In the best case, it’ll take time to win their favor again. In the worst case, customers will never return to you again.
However, in most scenarios companies never face such a situation. And not necessarily because they’re bad at doing business. For example, if your company produces parts for woodworking machines, you probably won’t face hundreds of thousands of new application users one shiny day. Also, if you work in a startup, it will take time before the world finds out about you, so instead of investing in large-scale application development, you can start with something small.
Read Also Single Page Applications (SPAs)
Important Aspects of Large-Scale Application Development
After you decide that adopting a large-scale application is what your business needs, it’s time for a company providing web application development services to handle the development process. Since such software has requirements that differ from those that regular apps have, there are some tricky parts requiring special attention.
Decide How to Measure the Scaling Success
As we mentioned earlier, large-scale applications can help to handle multiple scaling problems. According to the specifics of your business, some of them can be more or less valuable. To determine if the development process is going in the right direction, it’s important to choose metrics that help to assess how well your app handles scalability issues. For example, you can measure the usage of CPU and memory and also focus on network and disk activity. Such a complex approach will help to ensure that your application has no issues with processing large data sets and, what’s even more important, can effortlessly send this data to the end-users.
The metrics you choose must be monitored continuously. Even if everything seems to work fine, all of a sudden, a new unexpected error may appear. Therefore, you must pick the monitoring tool you find the most reliable. Luckily, there’s no shortage of them in the market.
Choose the Infrastructure That Suits Your Needs
Let’s consider the infrastructure suitable for large-scale application development. Amazon Web Services (AWS), MS Azure, Heroku, and many others are parts of a huge PaaS (Platform as a Service) family. PaaS is intended for those companies that want to build their own software. Such solutions provide access to cloud storage, networking tools, runtime environment, and many other components required for reliable large-scale application development.
Pick an Architecture Pattern
Choosing the right architecture pattern is critical for successful application development since it’s one of those decisions that cannot be changed in the process. Among the possible options, there are, for example, layered, event-driven, microkernel, and microservices architecture patterns. However, in terms of scalability, microservices can be considered the most optimal architecture. This approach enables high flexibility since the development team can focus on building a separate service whose deployment won’t affect the overall software system. If needed, developers can use different tech stacks for different parts of the application. Additionally, since there’s no need to change a monolith system with each new upgrade, the development team can deploy them faster.
Choose a Database Suitable for Scaling
In the web, data is king, and the database management system is his throne. The kind of database that you choose during the application development will play a vital role when it’s time to scale.
No solution will fit the requirements of every business in the market. The choice must be well thought out and based on the type of data you plan to use. For relational databases, MySQL or PostgreSQL can be an excellent choice. For disconnected databases, it’s hard to find something better than MongoDB.
Put All the Components Together
A comprehensive large-scale application is a combination of several components. Cloud storage allows adjusting the capacity according to your current or expected needs. If you expect to process more orders in the future, you can change your current subscription to ensure that there will be enough space in the cloud for each record. Distributed cache system helps to speed-up future user queries, so don’t miss this opportunity to improve the performance of your application. The use of load-balancing software helps to distribute the load between the available nodes, so the chances of bottlenecks can be lowered. Last, but not least, put all small services together and ensure that they work independently and do not overload the system in competition for resources.
Growing your business is a double-edged sword. Especially in the age of digital technologies when you can’t solve all your problems by hiring more people. You want your company to prosper and make everything possible to attract new clients. The more clients you have, the more attention you must pay to software solutions your company uses. This seemingly endless race with your own business software, however, is no less than a process of constant evolvement that allows you to rich your niche in the market competition.
If you want to adopt an application that isn’t prone to any scalability issues, please contact us.